Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFC West [Print without images]

Thursday, April 28, 2011
Kiper mock 5.0: Thoughts on Rams

By Mike Sando

Mel Kiper's fifth mock draft Insider for 2011 provides the foundation for discussing how NFC West teams might proceed this offseason.

I'll continue with a look at his plans for the St. Louis Rams, who hold the No. 14 overall choice.

14. St. Louis Rams: Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois

Kiper's give: A selection I'm sticking with from the previous mock, Liuget is a relentless player who displays leverage, power and the ability to locate the ball well against both the rush and the pass. ... I also can see the Rams going for an outside linebacker at this spot. If they're that intent on a pass-catcher with their first pick, the Rams could also trade off the pick.

Sando's take: Kiper, NFL Network's Mike Mayock and St. Louis Post-Dispatch beat reporter Jim Thomas all have Liuget heading to the Rams with the 14th pick. Another analyst, Rob Rang, recently had Liuget going to the New York Giants at No. 19. In other words, there's a consensus building that Liuget fits the sort of defense Steve Spagnuolo brought to the Rams from the Giants. The thinking appears sound. Liuget does appear to fit better than some of the other defensive line options, including J.J. Watt. Rams fans will be watching closely to see whether receiver Julio Jones falls out of the top 10. If that happens, would the Rams stay in the 14th spot or move up for a shot at giving quarterback Sam Bradford needed help? The Rams have been fairly predictably in past drafts, in part because they were picking so early and had such obvious needs. Their needs go beyond receiver and the defensive line this year. They could use a change-of-pace running back, a starting guard, a starting outside linebacker and help for a secondary that lost safety Oshiomogho Atogwe this offseason. No single need is great enough to force their hand at No. 14.